The 11th of September 2001 Will Go Down in History as a Black
Statement by Chancellor Schröder
September 12, 2001
Mr. President, Ladies and gentlemen,
Yesterday, the 11th of September 2001, will go down in history
as a black day. Today we are still horror-struck by an unprecedented
terrorist attack on the principles that hold our world together.
We still don't know what was behind this declaration of war on
the civilized nations of the world. We still don't even know how
many thousand innocent persons fell victim to these cowardly attacks.
What we do know and feel is that what is needed now is to show
our solidarity and our condolences.
Solidarity with the people of the United States and solidarity
with all those who support peace and freedom, in Germany, in Europe,
and everywhere in the world.
Some 2000 people came together spontaneously last night for a
church service and expression of condolences at the Berlin Cathedral.
Right after this session of the Bundestag there will be an ecumenical
commemorative church service at St. Hedwig's Cathedral.
The German Trade Union Federation and the Confederation of German
Employers' Associations have called for five minutes of commemorative
silence in the workplace on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The government
will heed this call.
I have expressed to the American President the deeply felt condolences
of the entire German people and ensured him of Germany's full
Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.
I would like to state here once again, in the presence of the
new American Ambassador, Dan Coats, that the people of Germany
stand firmly at the side of the United States of America in this
It goes without saying that we will offer the citizens and government
authorities of the United States every desired assistance - also
in connection with investigating and tracking down the perpetrators
and planners of these insidious attacks.
At my meeting with party and parliamentary group leaders last
night there was absolute unanimity that this extraordinary situation
requires all democrats to stand together.
Yesterday's attacks in New York and in Washington are a declaration
of war against the entire civilized world.
This kind of terrorist violence - the arbitrary annihilation
of the lives of innocent human beings - calls into question the
fundamental rules of any civilization. It poses an immediate threat
to the principles of human coexistence in freedom and security
that have developed over generations. We will not allow these
values to be destroyed, be this in America, in Europe, or anywhere
else in the world.
In reality we are already one world. For this reason the attacks
in New York, the seat of the United Nations, and in Washington
were directed against us all.
Yesterday's terrorist attack demonstrated once again that security
in our world is not divisible.
It can only be achieved by standing together more closely for
our values and by working together to implement them.
We now need to act rapidly to take more effective measures to
eliminate the breeding grounds of terrorism.
Those who help or harbor terrorists violate all the fundamental
values on which international coexistence is based.
Last night I spoke with President Chirac and Premier Jopin of
France, with Prime Minister Blair of Great Britain, and with President
Putin of Russia.
We are all agreed in our assessment that these terrorist attacks
constitute a declaration of war against the free world.
The foreign ministers of the European Union will hold a special
meeting today. After that the European Union will need to express
its solidarity at the highest level.
I have asked the current President of the Council of the European
Union, Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, to undertake a corresponding
Ladies and gentlemen,
Many people will be asking themselves what these attacks mean
for us in Germany. Last night I called an emergency meeting of
our national security council. We analyzed the situation in detail
on the basis of the information available to us.
At the present time there are no indications of any security
threat in our country.
However, we have taken additional measures to ensure that the
people of our country will be protected.
This has to do in particular with the security of our air space
and air traffic as well as the protection of American and other
In addition, we will have to work together in considering what
long-term consequences need to be drawn from these horrifying
Our national security council will meet again this morning.
It goes without saying that we will keep the parliamentary groups,
the political parties, and the general public informed with regard
to further developments.
The next briefing of party and parliamentary group leaders will
take place this afternoon in the Chancellery as agreed.
I am convinced that by standing together we will be able to deal
with this criminal challenge. Freedom and democracy, the values
of peaceful coexistence among people and nations will pass this